No Excuses (Arcana) Review | Commodore User - Everygamegoing

Commodore User

No Excuses
By Arcana
Amiga 500

Published in Commodore User #64

No Excuses

Anybody out there remember Arcana? I know I do. If you're one of the people out there who's scratching your little head and saying "I know that name from somewhere!" then here's a little memory jogger. They released one of the first Amiga games a while back by the name of Powerplay: The Game Of The Gods. Quite good it was too.

No Excuses is, in as concise a way as I can put it, an isometric 3D single screen puzzle game with quite a lot of blasting and dodging. You play a little insect lifeform whose sole purpose in life is to destroy all the free-roaming aliens in each of his world's 50 planes (the flat kind, not the airborne kind).

On each of the fifty levels, there are varying kinds and amounts of aliens. These vary from airborne greenies that swoop lower each time they pass, reach ground level then fly upwards and reappear somewhere else to do their amazing swooping trick again. Then there are the aliens that swoop down, land on the ground and sit waiting to be shot. Finally, there are the aliens that swoop, land and shoot at you from ground level.

No Excuses

As you wander about, you can attack in two ways. You can fire directly upward to shoot down the swooping aliens and you can shoot at ground level to take out the landed aliens. As the nasties swoop lower and lower, they reach a stage where they are no longer above you, but aren't quite at ground level. At this point, they can't be shot. There are two ways to get out of a situation like this. First, and probably the easiest, is to move out of the way. Pretty easy to do as the aliens move in straight lines only. If you should find yourself in a position where you simply haven't the time to move, or you haven't the reflexes, or you're eating your dinner, then you can activate one of your shields. At the start of the game, you have three to use wisely, and when activated via the keyboard, an impenetrable dome appears over the character which stops anything from getting in, but sadly also stops you from moving anywhere for a few seconds.

As you go on, the ground pattern gets more and more complex, and lots of different tiles appear. Some do all the usual things like slide you along, push you in the wrong direction, freeze you, blow you up, disappear, etc. My favourite one is the Superman brick. When you walk over this, you turn into the man of steel himself and don the old red cape with the 'S' on the back. This lets you run at double speed and gives you invincibility for a limited time.

The game also contains a comprehensive editor, which allows you to alter existing floor plans or create new ones, which includes putting down tiles and changes the number of aliens from 3 to 298 (x99).

No Excuses

Graphics are fine, and indeed they do serve their purpose. I couldn't help feeling that they were a little too simplistic. A little more detail perhaps would have helped the game out from its rather bland look.

The sound is fab. There's a multitude of really clear samples that have been expertly 'mucked about' with. The noise when you die is emphatically good.

No Excuses is fun, but when it comes down to it, it's really nothing more than fifty levels of stand on the right square, press Fire, and then stand on this square, press Fire, etc, etc. That said, it's good for an hour or two.

Tony Dillon

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